McMillan went to work as the organization’s new director on Thursday, leaving behind a job at Five Points Pet Resort in Raeford. She replaces Sara J. Hatchell, who resigned in January. Karla Jo Millholland has been serving as interim director.
Born and raised in Laurinburg, McMillan served for 19 years as a teacher in Scotland County and for four years as a teacher at Marlboro Academy.
“I left teaching last July and decided to take a chance to work with animals (at the pet resort),” McMillan said.
The decision to work in the pet industry was a natural one, despite her years of work in education.
“I have always had a passion for animals,” McMillan said.
After her experience at the Hoke County pet boarding facility, McMillan said she was emboldened to continue her career caring for animals.
“Seeing that side of the industry gave me a huge insight into animal care, and that job was what made me want to come work here,” said McMillan, who developed a number of contacts with rescue shelters outside of North Carolina during her time working at the pet resort.
According to Humane Society board member Kathy Murphy, those contacts as well as McMillan’s familiarity with the area were two of the main reasons she was hired to the role.
“We are really excited about the fact that she is local, that she knows Scotland County, and also that she has extensive rescue experience and contacts. Those will be invaluable,” Murphy commented.
McMillan’s local roots were also appealing because “she’s not moving away,” Milholland said.
“She’s going to be here, she’s staying, and she is a compassionate person who is dedicated to animals. She has shown that throughout the years, with all of the stray animals she has helped rescue and find homes for.
“She knows the plight of animals in Scotland County and this is the perfect venue for her to be in to do the most for them.”
While McMillan said that she will be faced with many challenges on a day-to-day basis at the crowded shelter, educating the public is at the top of her list of priorities.
“We need to educate them about spay and neuter,” McMillan said, praising the Humane Society’s Pet Responsibility Education Program, which targets fifth graders.
“We have to many repeat clients here, and we need to reach the adults.”
McMillan invited concerned members of the public to volunteer their time and money to the shelter, which struggles to pay for the cost of caring for the animals they house.
“Even if you can just come and walk a dog, we welcome that.”